Berry Middle School hosts annual Drama Daze camp

Published 4:34 pm Monday, July 8, 2019

HOOVER – Students learned about art, choreography, music, theatre and more at Berry Middle School’s third Drama Daze damp from June 24-28.

BMS theatre arts teacher Dianne Rowe organized the camp for the third year and again lined up skilled, experienced experts to help teach the students various disciplines.

Classes included sessions with a makeup artist and one focusing on stage combat, among others.

The camp is modeled after South City Theatre’s Summer Musical Theatre program, said Rowe, who has served as South City’s children’s program director.

Camp counselors included Ashley Pope, a senior musical theatre major at Samford University; Bonnie Davidson, a music teacher in area school theatre departments; Dustin Helmer, director of the theatre program at Spain Park High School; Alexis Luckie, a recent Spain Park graduate; Alexa Keith, a certified makeup artist; Rachel Ponder, a music theatre major at Viterbo University; Terencea Holtzclaw, a recent graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham; Mal Waggoner, a scenic design student at Auburn University; Payton Buchin, a performer, director, choreographer and teaching artist from Dothan; Mandee McDonald, a former teacher in the Hoover and Shelby County school systems.

Students entering grades 4-9 were eligible for participation in Drama Daze. Most of the participants are Berry Middle School students, Rowe said, but some students from outside the district also attend.

The $185 registration fee included the opportunity to make a tie-dye T-shirt, and students wore their shirts on the final day of the camp for a showcase time where they performed and presented some of their work during the camp for parents.

Students performed a song from “Schoolhouse Rock” for the showcase. “Schoolhouse Rock” will be the Berry drama program’s fall musical, Rowe said.

The camp lasted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

On June 26, Josiah Toone, Mae Elliott and Faith Coggin, all current or former BMS students, were participating in an art exercise, rolling a die to determine which shapes, patterns and textures they would include in a piece.

All three students said the acting component of the camp was their favorite.

“I’m kind of a drama queen, as my parents would call me,” Elliott said.

“My family says I’m very dramatic, and sometimes I don’t even realize I am,” Coggin added.

Toone said that during the school year, students try out for parts in school plays, but during the camp, everyone participates.

“With this, you’re always going to get a part, and they’re all pretty funny,” he said.

Participants brought their own lunches, but on the final day, pizza was provided and an ice cream food truck was on site offering treats.

Rowe said her hope is that the camp helps pique an interest for students and provides them with an opportunity to express themselves and make new friends.

She told of a new camp participant who after the first day was excited to tell his mother about his experience.

“He told her that he found his people,” Rowe said.

The 2020 camp will be held June 22-26. Anyone interested in finding out more or registration should email Rowe at

Proceeds from the camps are used to upgrade lighting and sound at the school.